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First Ministers lose Brexit bid.

On reports yesterday that the UK has officially informed the European Union that it will not be requesting an extension to the transition period.


The first ministers in question are Nichola Sturgeon from Scotland and Mark Drakeford from Wales. The first ministers from both Wales and Scotland had been lobbying the British government to extend the transition period.


In a blow, however, Michael Gove says "I formally confirmed the UK will not extend the transition period & the moment for an extension has now passed. On 1 January 2021, we will take back control and regain our political & economic independence."


In protest of the announcement of Michael Gove, Nichola Sturgeon and Mark Drakeford did not attend the Brexit conference call.


They went on to write a letter saying


No-one could reproach the UK government for changing its position in the light of the wholly unforeseeable Covid-19 crisis, particularly as the EU has made it clear it is open to an extension request.


"We, therefore, call on you to take the final opportunity the next few weeks provide to ask for an extension to the transition period in order to provide a breathing space to complete the negotiations, to implement the outcome, and the opportunity for our businesses to find their feet after the enormous disruption of recent months.


"At the time the Withdrawal Agreement was signed, no-one could have imagined the enormous economic dislocation which the COVID 19 pandemic has caused - in Wales, Scotland, the whole of the UK, in the EU and across the world."


Later on, in a joint statement, they went on to say


"In reality, the meetings we have had have simply been an opportunity for the UK government to inform us of their views, not to listen or respond to ours.


"We will be writing to Michael Gove to seek a complete reboot of these talks and meanwhile we want the EU 27 to know that the position being taken by the UK government with regard to an extension of the transition period runs counter to the views of our governments and, in our opinion, risks doing serious damage to the people of our countries."


A Cabinet Office spokeswoman said: "The government was elected with a clear manifesto not to extend the transition.


"This position was endorsed by parliament and reconfirmed by ministers in discussion with the devolved administrations.


"Extending would only exacerbate uncertainty for businesses and citizens, binding us into future EU legislation without us having any say in designing it to make sure it suits the interests of people in Wales, Scotland and across the whole UK."


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